Reaching People with Love

Love God Love People

Last week I wrote about Praying with a Muslim co-worker. Surprisingly of the two posts I have written on this topic, only one commenter has said anything negative. I actually expected it to be much more controversial than it has proven to be. I made a decision to respond to the negative comment privately (instead of on our site) after I visited his blog and discovered that he loves to have long, drawn-out, and very viscous public arguments. Indeed even our private conversation became a painful attack very quickly. I’m not afraid of controversy, but I like to limit negativity. There is a difference. The thing is, I love my Muslim co-worker. I do not agree with her religion, but I love her. For that reason I feel protective of her and don’t want her or others like her to be subjected to the kinds of hateful things he was writing in his emails to me. Everyone has the right to free speech – on their own blog. On my posts, however, I choose not to subject myself or our readers to hateful speech. It’s the same as how in your house you are free to watch any kind of television program you wish to, but in my own house I choose not to subject myself to ungodly programming.

I will say though that this person brought up some points that made me realize some people may misunderstand the nature of my interactions with my Muslim co-worker. I considered posting his entire initial comment here so that I could go through it point by point, but it would make for a very long post and I want the focus of this post to be love. But I’ve decided in the future that I may allow the initial negative comment to be posted, along with my response, but then limit subsequent dialog if it starts spiraling down the rabbit hole. Those are just my own thoughts, the other Rebekahs may handle comments on their posts differently.

Here’s the thing, people are won to the Lord by love. They are not won through clever arguments, coercion, or Bible thumping. They are certainly not won through curses, threats, or hate. Rebekah M. recently wrote about this in her post: The God of Love. You see, it was the LOVE of God that compelled Him to die on a cross for me. When the Lord talked with the Samaritan woman at the well He did not attack her with ugly words. He did not ignore her (which was customary in His day). He did not condemn her. The Samaritan woman had at least three things going against her: first, she was a woman. Generally men wouldn’t speak to women who weren’t in the presence of a male relative. Second, she was a Samaritan. Samaritans were considered to be lower than dogs to the Jewish people. Their worship was tainted with pagan rituals and beliefs. Third, she was a woman of ill-repute. She lived a very ungodly lifestyle. None of this stopped Jesus from reaching out to her. He had compassion on her. His compassion didn’t mean that He condoned her activity, no, He was honest with her and told her she needed the living water that only He could offer. He treated her with love.

Likewise, I am doing my best to love the people around me with a godly love. My Muslim co-worker knows I don’t agree with her religion. We have had many conversations about who Jesus is and what He did. I am praying that one day she will get the revelation that what I’m telling her isn’t just what I believe, it is TRUTH.

I can completely understand people being uncomfortable with what I’m doing with my Muslim co-worker, especially as it relates to our mutual prayers. I myself have gone into this with much caution and prayers. I have saturated it in prayers. My personal prayers every single day are for God’s will in this situation. We have also prayed about this many times in our family prayers. People at church have prayed. I have asked God to close the door if He isn’t in it. But the door has remained open and I have seen how He is drawing her through this. She’s asking many more questions about Jesus now. Our conversations are focused on God. She wants to know more about what I believe. She wants to know more about Him. She doesn’t yet realize that what is holding her back from knowing Him is the weight of tradition and the comfort of ritual. She doesn’t yet realize that it is her fear of familial and cultural expectations that are blinding her, but I believe in a God who knows how to take off the blinders!

One thing this commenter wrote to me was how Muslims pray towards Mecca and that by doing that with her I’m praying toward an idol. Actually, he’s made an assumption (which I can understand because my post wasn’t very clear) that isn’t true. I pray next to her, but we don’t face the same direction. I actually do that on purpose. She prays on the floor on her prayer mat while I pray seated at my desk which faces a different direction. As I mentioned in my first post on this topic, it is much more like we are praying at the same time, rather than praying together. The thing is, she is going to pray regardless, with or without me being present. Because my office is one of the few places she can do this, I’m almost always going to be there. I can choose to sit silently while she praises Allah, or I can choose to lift of the name of Jesus.  If I’m there praying in the Name of Jesus, there is a chance she will feel His Spirit move in a way she hasn’t felt before. There is a chance she will feel HIM reaching out to her. There is a chance my prayers will awaken something in her that will lead her to Truth. It is very clear to both of us that the focus of our prayers is different. She knows I’m praying to Jesus and that I believe He is the only way.

Condemning her won’t win her to the Truth, only love can do that. I remember very clearly sitting in a church service where the preacher was talking about something controversial. He got the whole congregation laughing and poking fun of people. What he didn’t know is that I came out of the lifestyle he was making fun of. When the congregation started laughing, it felt extremely personal, like they were all laughing at me. Even though none of them knew about my past, it was a humiliating experience for me. I didn’t feel love, I felt contempt. If the Lord had not already converted me, I’m sure I never would have stepped foot in a church again.

We need to be sensitive and compassionate if we want to win people to the Lord. Yes, it’s VERY important that we don’t participate in ungodly activities, but the best way to separate someone from their ungodly ways, is to show them the love of Jesus. Jesus won me with love, and I have faith that He will win my Muslim co-worker with love as well.

In His Love,

Rebekah L

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23 thoughts on “Reaching People with Love

  1. Loved this post. You are so right, people are won to the LORD by love. I am so sorry you have had to deal with negativity. That has always been my biggest worry when doing a blog. May the LORD continue to use you for His glory!

    • It’s unfortunate that there are negative people, but not surprising. They also afford us the perfect opportunity to practice the love of God in action. 🙂 Thanks for your kind words and God bless!!

      • Thank you! May the LORD continue to use you mightily for the Kingdom. Your co-worker is watching and listening. One day she will be in Heaven with us because of your example of Christlike love for her.

  2. I remain amazed by God’s perfect timing. Of course it is our responsibility to communicate His love and desire for a relationship with the people who cross our path. One day the woman you’ve been praying with may encounter a circumstance that changes how she sees Jesus. There is a segment of our society that believes a Christian showing love to a Muslim is simply naive. I think people who dare to speak God into other’s lives are warriors. Consider the countries that outlaw the bible. That should be proof enough that God’s word truly is a sword.

    • Amen! I think of Paul who was so devout in his religion; a Pharisee of the Pharisees, and I’m willing to bet that most people would have considered it naive to think he could ever become a Christian. And yet, look what the Lord did! God is still transforming people today. He is able to do this for my co-worker as well and until that day I will do my best to continue to show her His love.

  3. Concerning prayer, only ones heart knows the truth. Might one consider, it isn’t who we pray to, it is what prayer is about? Doesn’t the Spirit of God listen to all? Isn’t this what Jesus was doing when He sat and ate with everyone? Accepting all those who ate with Him, and at the same time knew those who didn’t were blind to the love that God our Father gives. Cheers to you Rebekah L for what you believe is good, and praying with others. Negative does have its place in our life, it is for us to chose to grow into the light, where the calm water does not rock our boat.

    • I do believe that the Spirit of God listens to all voices who are crying out to Him. However, who we pray to is important. The Bible says that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no man can come to the Father except through Him. So coming to know Jesus is essential.

      You make an excellent point about negativity. We cannot block all negativity and through it we grow, so it can serve an important function in our lives. Thanks for pointing that out!

  4. Great post Rebekah L! I remember we talked over this commenting situation recently and what caution we wanted. I know none of us want to censor the comments made to our posts if we can help it, but we also don’t want to allow something to be said in the spirit we both felt that comment was written in. What scares me is the fact that Christians can be drawn away from the core concept of God’s love and crusade for this or that- missing the whole purpose of it all. Jesus did EVERYTHING out of love- just so that we could be reconciled to Him! What amazing love! What an amazing God! 🙂

    • I’d loved your post! I’m humbled that you were moved to include our journey in it. Your last paragraph is a testament to who we should be; people who seek to understand with patience and kindness. God bless you!

  5. It saddens my heart to the core that many Christians are not following Christ as they should in Love but are instead living in profoundly obnoxious judgement. This happens in others areas where one disagrees with another’s life choices : homosexuality and other sexual immorality, false religion, idol worship, this list goes on and on. And while many Christians fall into these sins the truth is we are still forgiven and loved by the True Living God – and regarding those others He commands us to not judge the person. Only God knows the heart. We are to love these who sin as He loves us in spite of our sin.
    Here’s how I see your situation:
    You may be the only Jesus she ever sees.

    You only have this moment in time.

    As I’ve said before… I am praying for you both.

    Heather
    40YearWanderer

    • “We are to love these who sin as He loves us in spite of our sin.” I absolutely love that! Who am I to judge anyone when I am a sinner myself? The best I can do for them isn’t to judge, but rather to love them and pray for them. Thank you again for the prayers!

  6. I can’t imagine what objections could have been raised against what you described in your articles. You found common ground with the woman in the simple act of prayer. Jesus spent more time with “sinners” than with the religiously approved of the day (Pharisees). Some people just enjoy arguing. Of course, you already know how I feel. Keep at it! I’m praying for you both.

    • One of the saddest comments made was “You need to stop this foolishness and stop being friends with non-christians.” I immediately thought of Jesus sitting and eating with Publicans and sinners; the people who were despised in His day. How are we to reach our world for Christ if we have that kind of attitude? It is the love of God that draws people, not condemnation. Thank you for the prayers.

  7. I think what you are doing for your co-worker is wonderful and there is no doubt in my mind it is Spirit-led! The fact that you are praying and lifting Jesus up while she prays means all forces of darkness surrounding her god/s are being squished and trampled underfoot by the power of our glorious Lord! It is tearing down those strongholds which makes space for her to see the Truth! I also agree with how you handled his negative response privately. I recently posted something similar (http://kingintraining.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/the-gnashing-of-teeth-on-blogs/) because it has really been bugging me how some ‘Christians’ start these vicious arguments just to get their point across! it’s horrifying. I love what you are doing and I look forward to the posts all the time! Don’t let him bug you – Satan is having a field day with him trying to stop your good works.
    Have a blessed day! 🙂

  8. Pingback: Laughing Our Way Into the Presence of God 042213 | Mennonite Preacher

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